Scary Smart

The link below will take you to a Nat Geo, May 2018 article.  The issue is entitled “Genius” .  I always regarded Chem Engineers, for one, as scary smart.

Tweety n Smart

A good friend of mine earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and then a PhD in emergency medicine.  I had a boss who I worked with on and off, due to job changes,  for maybe 8 years or so, another Chem Engineer — had a huge corporate job spanning domestic and international leadership for a multinational corporation.  And I have an investment advisor how works for a highly successful firm, yep, a Chem Engineer.

All Scary smart !  And all great people !

Here is the link to the above referenced Nat Geo article …, yep, scary smart.

Mapping the Stars…

***** S&E *****

Log Entry No. 29: Dogs, Chickens and the Web

The Family Outcast (TFO) lives in a small mountain town in CO. with his mutt, “Orlo”.  Great place, many interesting dimensions to this small burg.  But this entry is not about the town, but TFO and his mutt.

The start of all this? One day out in the yard with his dog, Orlo, the mutt, decides to oft one of the neighbor’s designer chickens, yes, a designer chicken… he charges the bird; It was ugly, and the bird was pushing up daisies by the time TFO dragged his mutt off what remained of the chicken.  And, to even make it better, the owner of the bird witnessed dog-eating-drumstick_origthe murder.  The owner of the foul files a complaint with the local magistrate against the dog and TFO. So TFO has to make a court appearance, ha,  and ante up many bucks, ha, as well as accept a court order which restricts Orlo from the neighbor’s yard (and chickens).

TFO complained about his bad luck to the family… what is one man’s bad luck can be another man’s entertainment. The family thought it was hilarious!

Sometime later, TFO becomes a target to; let’s call them, “the boys”.  TFO was always a target!

After many libations and great stories, the designer chicken incident shows up in the story telling.  The boys decide that TFO needs chickens so a web search ensues to find a way.

The boys decide that TFO needs chickens so, on that same evening, a web search ensues and they, in a matter of minutes, find THE site. The writer cannot begin to describe the near disabling, gut wrenching, tears producing laughter that accompanied entering the order for chickens on the website.

In three days TFO’s postmaster in that small town dials his number and informs him that there is a package he needs to pick up.  TFO walks to the post office.  The postmaster presents him with a box with holes in it and a lot of peeping going on inside.  Yes, chickens for TFO !

TFO is furious, takes the box, and gives it to a nearby farm, and makes a number of calls searching for which one of “the boys” is responsible.  Everyone lies.

If you need chickens …   Here is the link:  https://www.efowl.com

TFO really isn’t a family outcast… we just keep telling him he is!

BTW, one of the interesting facts about that small mountain is that the Grammy’s (the actual statuette) are manufactured in the basement of an old but yet active downtown hotel.

A very interesting place to visit!

***** S&E *****

 

Retaining Talent – “The Gauntlet”

There are some very obvious statements we can make about successful retention of talent. It is important as:

  • It drives the business
  • Sets great examples for all employees
  • Success statistics are great recruiting “tools”
  • It is a testament to talent management process
  • It supports the best face of company
  • Presents continuous challenges and opportunities
  • Minimizes talent losses

How to retain it:

  • Secure the support of top management
  • Create related budgets to fund the process
  • Teach your managers to keep their “ear to the ground”
  • Have a strategy and continuous improvement practices in place
  • Involve employees in related process improvements
  • Expect bumps along the way
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

Seek out best practices of other companies and consulting firm views on the subject – a great way to stay ahead of the competition, obtain fresh views on the subject, and build and internalize a process that just may be benchmark worthy. You know you have arrived when other businesses are seeking out your advice because you have great success stats in talent management and retention.

About “The Gauntlet”

When it is obvious that talent losses are forthcoming, or, a talented professional gives notice of leaving the company, create a team of “A” level managers to meet with the “defector” to point out the advantages of staying with the company.  If the business has a good talent management process and success statistics, these are great topics for discussion as the departing professional runs the “gauntlet” of discussions with the “A” level managers, to include the top manager/leader of the business.  It is also a great opportunity to reinforce the anticipated career path in the business.  I have seen this work many times; on occasion airline tickets are involved to connect the professional to the right leaders.  An airline ticket is far less expensive than losing the talent, the cost of replacing same, related retraining, and the certain impact on peers, other parts of the business, and customers.

Related links:

http://www.hrmorning.com/10-most-effective-employee-retention-methods

https://www.thebalance.com/top-ways-to-retain-your-great-employees-1919038

 

***** S&E *****

Riding the Great Allegheny Passage !!! (GAP)

Five of us just competed the Gap trip from the Eastern Continental Divide in Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pa. This is the second year for the trip for me. Rigorous; always a life experience, enjoying the great outdoors for five days.

At the start !

Here is a summary:

 

Distance: 146 miles (225  km), 5 riding days on a crushed limestone path through the woods, tent camping at night.

On back or bike: Handlebar bag, backpack, rear saddle bags, and stuff on luggage rack .. About 40 lbs.

Fully packed bike at left.

Carried: Maps, clothes/shoes for 5 days, personal hygiene stuff, rain gear, tent and related equipment, sleeping bag, night lighting, tunnel lighting, extra bike parts and repair tools, energy bars and similar, medical emergency stuff, some food, folding table and chair, all in, about 65 items.  You say chair?  Your seat is thankful to have one after hours on that bike seat!

 

 

 

Rafting: our riding trail passed through a white water rafting area so we did a half day raft trip.

 

 

 

 

The Team Relaxing… we did a lot of relaxing!

 

Weather: rain for 3 of the 5 days; 2 of those days 2” and 3” downpours. We just rode through it.  Good news — dry nights and mornings so setting up camp and morning takedowns and re-packing the bikes, no rain !!!

Raccoons: Attack on last night — they made off with about 10 power bars and riding energy packets.  Where’s my gun!

At right, taking a break!

Equipment failures: None

Injuries: One – a broken metacarpal (hand) on the raft trip on the third day.  The dude completed the ride — tough!

***** S&E *****

 

Influence: Impact of Behavioral Competencies on Careers

In previous posts the blog discussed the importance of Behavioral Competencies to professionals, their careers, as well as organizations.  Examples of “critical to career” competencies would include Accountability,  Analytics,  Integrity,  Humor, Drive, Persistence, Kindness, Common Sense, Communications,  Flexibility, Dependability,  Adaptability, Professional Presence, Business Acumen, Team Player,  Leadership,  Intellect,  Passion, Humility, Compassion.

And so the list does not become overwhelming, it is important to know that some competencies are scalable over the course of careers.  Said another way, professionals become better equipped, in the area of Business Acumen, as they gain experience in varying assignments, positions, locations, and with peers and bosses. Scalability would also apply to other Competencies such as Leadership, Analytics, and Professional Presence.

A byproduct of building an array of Competencies is the ability to be a significant influence in business (also applies to private life).  This graphic from an IHRCC seminar displays how competencies and influence interrelate.

The graphic suggests that, as a professionals gain experience, skills, knowledge, scope, and discerning professional behaviors, they will differentiate themselves among their peers in performance, influence, and most probably career success.

Referencing the graphic, if you are a believer in bell-shaped curves, then you may agree that as the population distribution moves to the right, talent increases, performance increases, and compensation increases. So the organization’s high potentials, top performers are represented by the right side of the curve and might be 16% to 20% of all professionals.  Obviously, the objective is to increase that number.

So assuming the population is large enough for a bell-shaped curve to be applicable, the above is not much different from what one might find in college classes, about the same distribution of grades (performance) among the students.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Creating Space

Creating space in the business for new talent is all about renewal… new professionals, new perspectives, new ideas, and building a bank of future leaders.

“Exporting Talent” (ref: post May 17, 2018)  is one way to “Create Space” and add additional talent to the organization.  Vacancies created by lateral development transfers and promotions create opportunities to fill new vacancies with even more talent.

Yet another very necessary method of creating space is using due process to move along non-performers to appropriate different positions (getting the round peg in the round hole) or out of the organization entirely.

Some comments about due process:  No surprises is the key – this means the professional has had meaningful performance reviews, understands their short-comings with respect to position requirements, has been given coaching and an opportunity to improve, and in the end is not surprised by the organization’s decision to reposition them in a different position or separate them from the business.  This of course assumes the professional has been on the job for sufficient time to perform.

Due process relies on established objectives for the position which are the basis for measuring a professional’s performance.  Accomplishing specific projects, meeting established milestones, having the necessary skills to perform the job, and appropriate ethical and professional behavior are major factors in  performance based, due process driven employment decisions. The post under “Success”, Talent Management – Recruiting and Selection, January 28, 2018, discusses the importance of professional behavior — “Effectiveness Competencies”

Removing non-performers is vital as it offers open positions for promotions and sends a message to other organizations’ professionals that there are standards of performance in the business.  For the manager who makes the decision to remove the employee, it is a vote of confidence in his ability to manage as professional employees usually are aware if employees with whom they interact fall short of the mark of performance excellence.

Failure to change out poor performers can be a morale killer in the department or business.  Poor performance, and other than professional behavior, is almost always visible to peers.  And supervisors and managers who lack the skills to professionally manage their people are usually visible to other professionals as well.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Exporting Talent—creating genuine value

We are talking about laterals or promotions from one department or company location to another — “Exporting” people to new positions to further their careers.  For many managers moving talent along to new opportunities is plainly just hard to do.  For skilled leaders, it is not.

Exporting talent strengthens the organization and sends clear, highly visible messages to other onboard professionals.  Moving talent says that the business is interested in and supports career growth.  And for those businesses who do this well and, who take the time to track statistical data associated with career growth, those businesses have a great story to tell and sell as an integral part of the recruiting process. Talent Management metrics are unbeatable when it comes to recruiting and the competition for talent.

Exporting talent broadens experience, presents new challenges,  new perspectives, new work environments, new learning situations, and new managers to test adaptability… all these  are advantages of lateral moves and promotions; that is  far from  an inclusive list. Global assignments are particularly valuable for the company and professionals who are willing and adaptable.  This list is a good example of the additives to career value.  And when compared to compensation it is clear that the latter does little to further a career.

When to export relies on the professional’s grasp of the skills and competencies developed in the present assignment.  It is not uncommon, and I so clearly remember this from my time in global work, to find many professionals having career time lines which had little flexibility.  Timelines that map out new assignments every two years, with no recognition that the learning provided on the current position has provided a strong basis for the next, can lead to failure on the next assignment.  Absent that recognition, inflexible timelines can prove to be a recipe for eventual failure.  It is management’s job to provide the coaching and mentoring to assure the move is appropriate and timely.

Exporting a ready professional is the highest reward for great performance. 

It requires time to sponsor a move, and, great, accurate communications. The process needs to anticipate the timing of the readiness of the professional.  It can take some planning and time to arrange the path.  Absent the appropriate timing and action, unwanted turnover can be the result.

Exporting talent also creates space… “creating space”, a topic dealt with in a later post.

***** S&E *****